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The Ultimate Checklist To Complete Before Listing Your Home

Josh Dawson

My goal is simple: to help you make better real estate decisions...

My goal is simple: to help you make better real estate decisions...

Feb 27 5 minutes read

If you're ready to sell your house, then it's time to get to work! 

Putting your house on the market takes a lot more than just sticking a "For Sale" sign in the front yard and adding some photos on the internet. 

Before you go through the entire process of listing your home, complete this checklist to get yourself better prepared. 

Some of the tips are simple and some of them will take a little more energy, but they all will help out tremendously when it comes to impressing buyers!

Hire a Great Real Estate Agent

Selling your home without a real estate agent is almost always a recipe for disaster. It's important to interview agents that can list your home at the right price, maximize your home's exposure to potential buyers, and have strong negotiating skills. 

Most agents use the 3 P approach to marketing your home. They first PLACE a For Sale sign in your yard, they PUT the listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), then they PRAY somebody makes an offer. (If you're lucky, they may even snap some photos of your home with their smartphone.) This strategy may have worked for them in 1984, but it doesn't work when trying to attract today's modern, smartphone-using homebuyer.

The stakes are too high not to have a more comprehensive marketing plan.

I have one...

Nail the Curb Appeal

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, and that counts for your home too! Buyers might be less likely to check out the rest of a house if the outside is unappealing—even if the interior is stunning.

If you’re looking to sell your house, a few inexpensive changes to your home’s exterior could help make the process smoother. From being able to sell faster to add greater value to the asking price.

Store Family Photos

Your family is beautiful (and your pets are cute as heck), but prospective buyers don't want to see your family photos around every corner when touring your home.  Your goal should be to allow the buyers to envision themselves in their future home (not for them to envision themselves in your home).

Neutral is Better

You may have loved that mural you painted as an accent wall when you first moved in, but you can lose a buyer as soon as they see it. Play it safe by painting your walls with light, neutral colors. It will make your home feel larger and more modern.

Check out my blog post with the 5 Hottest Paint Colors of 2019 for ideas.

Tighten up Handles & Change Bulbs

This is a small fix, but you'll be amazed at how impactful it is to tighten your handles on any cabinets. Outside of that, look for small fixes like changing light bulbs or removing scuffs on any objects around the house.

Use Plants to Bring Life

Adding some house plants will create a welcoming feeling for buyers. Place them in inviting areas of your home such as the kitchen and living room.

Smell Test Your Home

Even the slightest sense of an odor will have buyers wanting to leave your home as fast as possible. This can be a huge deal breaker on whether you get an offer. If you want to make sure all is smelling well, invite over a friend or family member - the one who will always tell you the truth.

ProTip: Boiling cinnamon sticks will have your home smelling wonderful for days!

Hide Valuables and Prescriptions

Make sure you hide anything you have that is of value to your or your family. This can include jewelry or art. It's best to lock it up or take it off-site. Homes for sale are also a target for those looking to steal prescription medications. Be smart!

Staging Makes all the Difference

Despite what you may think, must buyers have poor imagination. Staging should be performed on an empty or partially-empty home to guide the buyer's imagination and make for a fanstastic first impression.

A Compelling Price

Since you haven't cut any corners when ensuring your home shows well both online and in-person (see above), the last step in your checklist entails pricing. 

After seeing your home online, and in-person, your buyer is going to have one of three impressions of your home's list price: 1) that it's priced too high; 2) that it's "in the ballpark," or 3) that it's compelling.

Choose to price it too high, and they'll think you're desperate or hiding something (they'll never trust you). Pricing it "in the ballpark" will get you a lot of tire kicker showings and few offers.

A compelling list price gets buyers excited, and gets you offers.

Which one would you prefer?


Let me guide you into making the best decisions at every step in the selling process.

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